from new york city, this is "nightline," with cynthia mcmcfadden. good evening, and thank you for joining us, ever thought your spouse was getting away with murder? well, one michigan woman actually tried to do so by hiring a hit man to get rid of her husband. and she is not the first to take drastic measures that may make divorce look positively quaint. luckily law enforcement has
filed such plots. more on marriage going very wrong. >> reporter: a car door opens, a woman gets inside. greetings are exchanged. >> nice to meet you. so i guess we got a little business to discuss? >> yes. >> reporter: and then a murder is planned in one of the most staggering conversations you may ever happen to overhear, because listen. >> well, why don't you tell me what -- >> well, i am just trying to figure out the -- what i want done. >> reporter: it is her own husband she is talking about killing. >> you want it to look like a break-in -- >> well, we were talking about that too, i thought since i may be able to get him outside, i have a girlfriend who hopes to move in with me, and i don't want her to be scared to move in with me if she thinks we got broken into. i'm afraid because i want her to move in with me, because i don't want to live there by myself
afterwards. >> reporter: and the guy she is talking to? that right hand there? that is who she wants to hire to kill her husband, she talked to him twice and he was full of questions. >> looks like that? pretty much? >> yes, he has a tattoo on his arm. >> something bad, a gunshot? is that how you want me to do it? shoot him? >> unless you can do it painlessly -- >> you know, i would prefer to use either a knife or a gun, that is quick and easy. >> less painful. >> where do you want me to shoot him? do you want an open casket, a closed casket? >> i want a closed casket. >> reporter: and the stuff she is worried about, about the mess it may make? >> if you can get him outside it would be great. but i mean, if you absolutely can't, i will understand, you know. >> so you want me to like -- i guess i'm not understanding you. you don't want it done in the house? >> because it would be messy in
the house. >> reporter: she didn't really need to worry because her husband is still alive. and julie merfeld, the man she was talking to was a deputy. another mistake, thinking she would get away with it. amazingly the number of people who try to pay somebody to kill off a relative is more than you can count on one hand. "nightline" has uncovered several such cases in recent years, and in all of those, the plotter was caught in time. as former fbi agent and consultant, brad garrett told us, these people keep making the same mistakes. >> what they do is, they go to a friend or associate or somebody they knew in their past, and what happens, the person they step to goes to law enforcement. >> reporter: like matthew campbell, who went to somebody to try to kill his own mother, a
plot she heard from the police. >> he said i hate to be the one to inform you of this, but we have been notified that there has been a contract put out on your life. >> reporter: a contract out on your life? it sounds insane. but matthew had approached somebody to do the job who went to the police instead. or take for example the case of dahlia, who was taped making a deal for her husband's murder, with an apparent assassin, who was actually a cop. >> i'm sorry to tell you, ma'am, he has been killed. >> oh, no, no, no. >> reporter: in dipoleto's case, it was the typical miscalculation, she turned to help for somebody who then went to the police. she is currently on house arrest on half a million dollar's bond,
where her lawyers are appealing the conviction. it is the cold-bloodedness that comes across in these stories. how in julia merfeld's case, she nonchalantly discussed the details of somebody's death who she loved presumably at month. >> i was looking at my calendar, thinking either the 18th of april or the 25th. >> reporter: you wonder how can it get from loving to marrying and planning to kill? >> she has turned this over and over again in her mind so many times she doesn't even see her husband as a real person anymore. at this point, he is just a orter: but here is another twist on it. the case of houston lawyer, stern, arrested for plotting the murder of his wife. his girlfriend confessed to being in on it, and is already serving time. but yvonne says she still loves her husband and blames it on the
girlfriend. the charges against stern were dropped and the marriage lives on. and how did that happen? >> the spouses have something called learned helplessness. the victims sometimes don't even want to break away. they feel guilty, brainwashed. they imagine it is their own fault. and sometimes they will even go to the murderous spouse's defense, to try to get help. >> reporter: stern's girlfriend was planning to kill him, according to the attorney. >> michelle geiser, from her jail cell, has plotted another murder, and has tried to engage another inmate to murder jeffrey stern for $20,000. >> reporter: so these things do tend to get messy, which is just what merfeld didn't want when she got in the car. >> because it would be messy in the house. >> reporter: and why not just divorce her husband? well, there was insurance money to be had if he were dead.
and then, there were his feelings to consider. >> it is not that -- i was just -- it was easier than -- easier than divorcing him. you know, i didn't have to worry about the judgment of my family or about breaking his heart, stuff like this, if i get a clean getaway. >> reporter: yeah, breaking his heart, sounds like that would have killed him. unbelievable. next, the war within. how an alarming number of american troops are using a dangerous synthetic drug that is shockingly easy to come by. >> abc news "nightline," brought to you by progressive. hey, buddy? oh, hey, flo. you want to see something cool? snapshot, from progressive. my insurance company told me not to talk to people like you. you always do what they tell you? no... try it, and see what your good driving can save you. you don't even have to switch.
unless you're scared. i'm not scared, it's... you know we can still see you. no, you can't. pretty sure we can... try snapshot today -- no pressure. [ lighter flicking ] [ male announcer ] you've reached the age where giving up isn't who you are. ♪ this is the age of knowing how to make things happen. so, why let erectile dysfunction get in your way? talk to your doctor about viagra. 20 million men already have. ask your doctor if your heart is healthy enough for sex. do not take viagra if you take nitrates for chest pain; it may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. side effects include headache, flushing, upset stomach, and abnormal vision. to avoid long-term injury, seek immediate medical help for an erection lasting more than four hours. stop taking viagra and call your doctor right away if you experience a sudden decrease or loss in vision or hearing. this is the age of taking action. viagra. talk to your doctor.
bath salts, they sound so innocuous, but they are also known as a zombie drug, and for good reason, incidents captured on youtube show people losing their minds, tonight, we learn about marines with a destructive secret. >> reporter: they are a new breed of powerful synthetic drugs, with names like spice and bath salts, sold openly. spice mimics the effects of marijuana, but their effects are like cocaine. the effects are like no drugs on
earth. jordan and his friend, who we will call chris, started to use synthetic drugs at work as marines. when was the first time you did bath salts. >> probably about three years ago. >> reporter: what does it do to you? >> makes you feel like you can do anything you want. >> reporter: jordan was kicked out three months ago, but chris is still on active duty, which is why we're not showing his face. how popular are synthetic drugs in the military? >> it is an epidemic, like 50% or more have currently tried or do spice or bath salts. >> reporter: no way. >> yeah. >> reporter: the marines don't release the statistics on the bath salts, so it is difficult to tell. but jordan says one thing is clear, the drugs are not hard to find. >> a weird thing about it, they can be found anywhere.
>> reporter: we're about to go downtown to buy the bath salts, there is a camera here. >> go in, and look for a while. you see bubbles, work your way into it. >> reporter: in this shop, bath salts are known by the name "bubbles." and they are kept hidden from most customers. >> you got to walk in like the military. >> reporter: they have no problem purchasing the infamous drug. >> piece of cake, just walked in there, picked it up, no problem. >> reporter: it is easy to see why spice and bath salts might be popular in the military. synthetic drugs don't show up on standard urine tests that all marines must take. when jordan was at camp pendleton, he said he routine lie smoked marijuana and al-- a synthetic salts. >> the comedown was the worst part. >> reporter: jordan says he will
never use bath salts again. >> it is a horrible, horrible, life ruining, brain destroying drug that nobody should ever do. >> reporter: but chris, on the other hand, has just purchased half a gram and is anxious to get started. >> all i know, it is hard to like swallow, or breathe. i got to constantly take a pause. and it would be controlling my heart rate and slowing down my actions. >> reporter: as chris takes hit after hit, his thoughts start to come out in jumbled ways. >> it is interesting, finding the thoughts the mindset sometimes that you're in, a state of euphoria, dealing with -- >> reporter: are you high right now? >> yes, i think the -- funnest
thing is to find out how far i can take it. >> reporter: chris tells me that when he entered the marines, he was addicted to alcohol. but at some point he switched to synthetic drugs. do you think you will ever stop? >> yes, and i think that that day is soon. >> reporter: but later, when we met back up with chris, he was still using. have you ever tried to get help? >> i have tried looking deep inside of me and making a strong -- bawling my eyes it, but once you pick up that substance, i find my body just wants to do it. >> reporter: for chris, there may not be much he can do. according to jordan, his friend from the marines, professional help is not really an option. >> the current zero tolerance policy for the marine corp is that no drugs are tolerated.
>> reporter: we reached out to the marines for treatment and addiction, and told they could not meet our deadline. but in the same week, the navy launched a massive campaign about the dangers of bath salts, including this public service announcement. the psa starts with the reenactment of a sailor going through a bad bath salts trip. >> when people are using bath salts, they're not their normal self. >> reporter: in the video, the lieutenant in san diego describes why service members should stay away from synthetic drugs. >> ultimately, these people are jacking up their brains with the stuff they're doing. >> reporter: the navy's campaign illustrates that synthetic drugs are a growing concern in the military. but chris has some views about his own use. >> i have been sober now since november 11th, 2011.
>> reporter: chris says that quitting was not entirely his choice. a few days after we last saw him chris was pulled over by military police. as he was being questioned about his strange behavior, chris admitted to using bath salts. chris is now being processed out of the marines, and says that it was not military authorities that convinced him to stop using. >> i gave my life back to god. every day since this happened i always keep a bible on me and i read proverbs daily, i know that this is the path. >> reporter: even though chris says that he has found god and that it has been weeks since the last time he touched bath salts, the physical toll is evident. >> it is the strongest substance that i have ever dealt with in my life, with coming down off of it. it is terrible. >> reporter: and you hope you never do it again? >> i know you won't ever do it again. i know i wouldn't. >> reporter: for "nightline," in
los angeles. >> our thanks to mariona for that disturbing report. later you will be able to see her on fusion, the joint venture channel between cable vision and uni vision, her report continues on july nth, on the royal geographic channel. and later, people are placing both bets on each side of the pond as kate nears her due date. an antidepressant alone only helps so much and suggested we add abilify (aripiprazole). she said that by taking both, some people had symptom improvement as early as 1 to 2 weeks. i wish i'd talked to my doctor sooner. [ female announcer ] abilify is not for everyone. call your doctor if your depression worsens or you have unusual changes in behavior, or thoughts of suicide. antidepressants can increase these
in children, teens and young adults. elderly dementia patients taking abilify have an increased risk of death or stroke. call your doctor if you have high fever, stiff muscles and confusion to address a possible life-threatening condition. or if you have uncontrollable muscle movements, as these could become permanent. high blood sugar has been reported with abilify and medicines like it and in extreme cases can lead to coma or death. other risks include increased cholesterol, weight gain, decreases in white blood cells, which can be serious, dizziness on standing, seizures, trouble swallowing, and impaired judgment or motor skills. [ sally ] since adding abilify, i feel better. abilify and my antidepressant make a pretty good team. [ female announcer ] ask your doctor about a free trial of abilify and go to addabilify.com. i don't do any cleaning. i make dirt. ♪ i'm not big enough or strong enough for this. there should be some way to make it easier. [ doorbell rings ] [ morty ] here's a box, babe. open it up. oh my goodness! what is a wetjet? some kind of a mopping device.
there's a lot of dirt on here. morty, look at how easy it is. t's almost like dancing. [ both humming ] this is called the swiffer dance. [ both humming ] geico's defensive driver,ke 13. good student and multi-policy discounts could save you hundreds of dollus. engineer: uh geico's discounts could save you hundreds of "doll-ars." it sounds like you're saying "dollus." dollus. engineeif you could accentuate the "r" sound of "dollars." are...are... are... engineer: are... arrrrrr. arrrrr. someone bring me an eye patch, i feel like a bloomin' pirate. geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. honestly, i feel like i nailed that.
these are sandra's "homemade" yummy, scrumptious bars. hmm? maybe. rich chocolate chips... i just wanted you to eat more fiber. and then the awards started coming in, and i became addicted to the fame. topped with chocolaty drizzle... and fraudulence. i'm in deep, babe. you certainly are. [ male announcer ] fiber one. fiber beyond recognition. try new fiber one peanut butter protein bars.
kate middleton causes a baby boom of a different sort. and a seattle teen escapes the long arm of the law but must face an even more frightening judge, his mother. tonight in feed frenzy. >> you're so grounded. when this seattle woman found her car had been broken into she also discovered an unexpected clue. the thief's cell phone left behind on the back seat. but instead of calling the police, she called his mother. >> i said this is very uncomfortable for me to make. this phone call, i have your son's phone and i'm missing some things out of my car. and i think they may be two related items.
and she was devastated. >> well, mother laid down the law. >> and standing over there on the curb was a woman i never saw, she was standing like this with her arms crossed. >> and had her son go door-to-door returning items to his victims. and with apologies to kim kardashian, the most anticipated birth of the year is the royal one. prince william and duchess kate have set off a betting bonanza. if popularity is any indication on the names, the newest heir to the throne may be a seven-pound brunette named alexandria. and just in case kate happens to be inspired by kim and kanye,
trending stories you need to know. >> amanda bynes in court today in new york in a blue wig. >> then -- >> the cleveland three with a message. >> they've got a long way to go here. >> mariah's hospitalization. nick on her serious injuries. >> they're black barbie and ken. >> plus, aisha tyler on her nerdy childhood. >> that comes across as you're being a bitch. now where yahoo